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Under the skin of the ocean, there's a super-loud fishcotheque going on | Philip Hoare

09.12.2021
Příroda
The hubbub of an Indonesian reef should comes as no surprise: the world below is alive with soundA coral reef in Indonesia thought to be dead has been discovered to be erupting with glorious uproar - the sound of fishes whooping and grunting as they communicate and search for food. It's like Finding Nemo come to life. We shouldn't be surprised. The ocean, like Prospero's island in The Tempest, is full of strange noises. It crackles and it roars. Jacques Cousteau may have been a great ocean explorer, but when he made his film The Silent World in 1956, I wonder whether he was actually listening down there, through the bubbles of his aqualung.Sound travels five times faster in the water. The ocean is a giant conductor of sound, an aquatic internet for every organism in it. They feel it in their bodies, and as they create sound, they are physically reaching out: from pistol shrimps that snap their claws so loudly that the sound makes them seem a hundred times bigger, to the great whales who, as Roger Payne, the first person to record and release whale song, has observed, make a sound as big as the ocean itself, and which can be heard for thousands of miles. A humpback in the Caribbean can be heard by a fellow whale off the coast of Europe. At 230 decibels (an aeroplane 100 feet away reaches 140dB), sperm whales are the loudest animals on Earth. Diving with these cetaceans in three-mile-deep waters off the Azores, I had to sign a consent form from the islands' government, waiving liability should my hearing be damaged. Indeed, when I was first echo-located by a large female sperm whale, I felt her sonar clicks judder through my body like an MRI scanner.Philip Hoare is an author whose books include Leviathan, Or the Whale Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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